#ShambhalaMeToo

============

Project Sunshine is announcing a new initiative today: #ShambhalaMeToo. We want to empower you to share your stories of how MeToo in our community is impacting you, and what your dreams for a positive resolution look like. Now is the time to dream out-of-the-box and envision the kind of Shambhala community you long for, free from abuse and control, and authentically enriching your ability to pursue your spirituality. Use the #ShambhalaMeToo hashtag to join our wave of truth-telling, positive healing and good will!

============

Since the release of the Project Sunshine Phase 1 report, I’ve received an overwhelming number of emails and Facebook messages. Clearly the time has come for acknowledging that something disturbingly wrong has been happening in our community.

It feels important to start sharing some of the powerful messages I’ve been receiving from people  touched by the work of Project Sunshine. Margot gave permission to share her email:

“I too am grateful for your work, Andrea.  And when you say [Project Sunshine Phase 2] may be of use to other Buddhist communities, please think bigger.  I think this approach would greatly have benefitted the larger #MeToo movement, which degenerated into some place that I wished it hadn’t gone.  Your bright kindness is extraordinary.

At the same time… it’s time women received the respect we’ve been denied for thousands of years.  The time is now.

Yours in this struggle,

Mary”

There are threads in this short message that I am sure will resonate with many. I love how Margot is encouraging me/us to think bigger. In fact, in February I began speaking in zoom meetings with the Shambhala leadership – Adam Lobel, Jane Arthur, Wendy Friedman and Aarti Tejuja – about my vision for Shambhala working through our #MeToo situation drawing upon the strengths of our Shambhala tradition, and that in fact, we can provide leadership for the world in how to heal sexualized violence. 

I know this is possible. But don’t underestimate what it will take to accomplish this! It will take courage, skill, and deepening our compassion beyond what we think we are capable of. And honestly, just as Margot said, we must shift into a greater honour of women, and the feminine within all of us.

The good news from all the discussion is that people care, and that now the resource is available to heal this situation: I have created a plan for an independent healing initiative for the Shambhala community. This approach can also be used by other Buddhist communities affected by sexualized violence. See the Project Sunshine Phase 2 Plan for details.

The time has come for us to take personal responsibility for carrying forward the precious Shambhala lineage, and the most precious lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. You can help make this vision a reality by contributing money and also talking with others about this. True healing and change are happening one conversation at a time. Please participate with your full heart!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them at the bottom of this page, or contact us directly at projectsunshinecf@gmail.com. Also, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.

You can see everything related to Shambhala and the sexual violence situation on our welcome and information page.

This entry was posted in All Project Sunshine articles. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to #ShambhalaMeToo

  1. Alaina Speraw says:

    Thanks for all the bravery and hard work in compiling the Sunshine Report. A fearless, honest assessment and change is long overdue in Shambhala International.
    I was involved since 1978, attending Seminary in 1980.
    I have observed many incidents of bad behavior by our leaders and had my own experiences and concerns which were always silenced under by the blanket of Samaya vows.
    Dharma students now have the opportunity to to transform this institutionalized culture of compliance and complicity.

  2. Frank Smyth says:

    Sent via email:

    Dear Mr. Olmsted,

    I am writing to you as President of the Pema Chödrön Foundation in order to communicate an interview request to Ms. Chödrön. If you have a direct contact for her, please share it with me.

    As a matter of background, please know that I am a former Shambhala practioner through Warrior and Drala, and I am a journalist. I also wrote a Letter-to-the-Editor around 2006 (see the link below) to The Dot noting that the publication and the wider Shambhala community both seemed to be sidestepping issues surrounding Chögyam Trungpa’s prior abuse.

    https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/3502092/dot-shambhala/5

    The revelations in the Project Sunshine reports have led to the resignation of all nine members of the Kalapa Council. But no one in the leadership past or present seems to have said a word publicly in response to the reports or allegations.

    My questions are for Pema Chödrön, who has long been the most influential and for many including me inspiring leader of the Shambhala community:

    1) Was she aware of the sexual abuse of adult woman by Sakyong Mipham? If so, starting at what date or year?

    2) Was she aware of the sexual abuse of children within the Halifax community where she lives and has served as the most influential spiritual figure? If so, starting at what date or year?

    3) If so in either case, did she make any efforts to address the abuse? What were those efforts? Whom did she speak with, and what did she do?

    4) What does Pema Chödrön have to say to the Shambhala community and world about the abuse now?

    Please know I would like a response one way or another by tomorrow noon, Friday, July 14. I would accept a statement or an interview with Ms. Chödrön, as she may prefer. My cell is 202-352-1736. My email is smyth.frank@gmail.com.

    If she would prefer not to comment, I would like to ask you or her to communicate that to me. Please know that a nonresponse or simply ignoring this email would be treated as a non-comment, in which case, the fact that I made this request to you by name as President of the foundation would appear in the story.

    I am copying here as well Barry Boyce, editor of the Shambhala Sun.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Frank Smyth

  3. I just read the article in the New York Times. I am grateful that the truth is being told. I was a member of the Buddhist community in Boulder beginning in the 1970’s, and a teacher at Naropa University until 2006. All stories and signs of sexual abuse were denied, dismissed or hidden. There was nowhere to go to tell the truth. Even the women supported Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in his sexual abuse. One could and did justify everything in the name of enlightenment. It is profoundly confusing to have so much wisdom and such abuse all in the same place. For my part, I believe that for healing to occur, it needs to include everyone who has been abused. A top down inside job is the tradition that precedes us. Thank you Andrea for taking this brave initiative.

Comments are closed.